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  • Richtis gorge : The amazing gorge of Richtis is located in Lasithi Prefecture, on the north side, between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. It starts just outside the village Exo Mouliana and ends at the Richtis beach, east of the village of Kalabro. The total length of the route is approximately 3 kilometres and the elevation difference between the starting point and the beach is about 350 metres. The gorge, even in summer, has enough water, which is used by locals. Platan, oleander and sage are numerous, and the smells of fresh herbs change constantly.
  • Kritsa gorge : Kritsa Gorge starts near the picturesque village of Kritsa, 9.5 kilometres southwest of Agios Nikolaos and ends at the village Tapes. It’s 4 kilometres long, reaching a width of only 1.5 metres in some places. The entrance of the canyon near Kritsa is impressive, as the mountain is torn in two, shaping the narrow passage of Havgas.
  • Mylonas gorge : The Gorge of Mylonas is located 18 kilometres east of Ierapetra. It starts near the village of Agios Ioannis, at an altitude of 500 metres, and ends at the beach of Kakia Skala.
  • Cha gorge : One dominant feature of the area of Ierapetra, in front of the village of Vassiliki, is the Gorge Cha. It is considered one of the wildest gorges in Crete, a rare morphological phenomenon of nature, probably caused by tectonic earthquake. It remains a virgin environment, untouched by man, who still finds its formation prohibitive for exploration or development. Canyoners consider it the King of the gorges of Crete. Ha has about 33 rappels, the largest is 35 metres high, therefore any attempt to cross it without technical equipment is impossible. In the last third of the gorge, a waterfall of 215 metres height is poured, which increases the amount of water in the gorge. The waterfall is the highest in Greece and is located at the end of Mastoras sub-gorge. The entrance of the gorge is very narrow, about 3 metres and opens on the top. Its width in many parts is only 30 centimetres m and in others no more than 3 metres. Its length is about 1 kilometre. The intense parallel colours on the rocks are impressive, too. As you reach the inside you can see many such small ponds and waterfalls, especially in the wintertime, which is the best time to visit the gorge.
  • Zakros gorge : The beautiful Gorge of Kato Zakros (or the gorge of the Dead) starts in a short distance from Ano Zakros, nearly 100 kilometres southeast of Agios Nikoilaos, and ends at Kato Zakros. The beauty of the landscape, the historical importance of the gorge and its accessibility, attract many visitors every year. The trail in the gorge is part of the E4 European trail. It is an exceptionally beautiful gorge, with high walls with big caves on them. In those caves, tombs of the Minoan era, have been found, which contained findings of great archaeological value. Because of these tombs, the gorge is also called “Gorge of the Dead” and the caves “Caves of the Dead”.
  • Orino gorge : Nearby the lush green and full of water springs Orino village we meet one of the most steep rivers of Crete. Its springs are located high on the plateau Abelia on the slopes of Thripti and Papouri mounts. They shortly form a river which crosses the village square and enters the rugged canyon of Orino. The river shapes incredible waterfalls with ponds and especially its last part is amazingly beautiful. The last three waterfalls at Peristerionas position are some of the most beautiful in Crete. Impressive also is the amount of water, very rare at dry East Crete. Even during the summer months there is water flow in the gorge. The river continues to flow down and enters the canyon of Red Butterflies finishing at Koutsouras beach.
  • Pervolakia gorge : The wild and imposing gorge of Kapsas is located 8-9 kilometres east of Makrigialos and 33 kilkometres east of Ierapetra. The gorge is also called Pervolakia, because its northern entrance is near the secluded and picturesque village of Pervolakia. The length of the gorge is about 4 kilometres and trekking in the canyon is not too hard. The exit of the gorge is next to the Monastery of Kapsa, in the Libyan Sea. You can swim in the beautiful quiet pebbly beach, just in front of the gorge exit.
  • Pefki gorge : The Gorge of Pefki (Pefki means Pines) is one of the most beautiful small gorges of Crete, with amazing rock formations shaped by the natural forces and with lush vegetation. The length of the gorge is 4.5 kilometres and the elevation difference of the entering point and the exit reaches 300 metres.
  • Mesonas gorge : Mesonas gorge is located on the northern slopes of the mountains of Thripti, near villages Kavoussi and Avgos. It is a short imposing gorge (4 kilometres long), that needs technical equipment for crossing it along its bed. The canyon connects the Plateau of Thripti to the plain of Kavoussi. The views to the canyon, the surrounding mountains and the bay of Mirabello are indescribable.
  • Sarakina gorge : 16 kilometres west of the Ierapetra is the traditional village of Mythi. In a short distance from the village, the small Sarakina Gorge starts, which ends near the Mirtos. The length of the canyon reaches 1.5 kilometres and its width ranges from 3 to 10 metres, with only a few points exceeding that. The walls reach a height of 150 metres, making this narrow gorge very impressive. In the gorge, Kryopotamos river is flowing all over the year. The locals call the gorge Sarantapihos. According to legend Sarantapihos, a giant (son of Zeus) stopped to drink water from a river. His long beard slashed the mountain in two parts and created the canyon.
  • Selinaris gorge : The Gorge Selinari is located about 45 kilometres east of Heraklion and 21 kilometres west of Agios Nikolaos, on the eastern slopes of Selena Mount. It is well known to all Cretans, because the National Road from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos runs along the gorge. Moreover, the canyon has historically been the natural passage from the region of Lassithi to Heraklion fertile north coasts. The walls of the gorge and the surrounding mountains shelter many birds of prey. Selinari used to be one of the shelters for the rare wildgoat (kri kri), but it unfortuntally has disappeared.
  • Tsigounis gorge : The exit of the gorge Tsigounis is located 1 kilometre west of the village Sfaka, Sitia district, on a turn of the main road connecting central Crete to Sitia. The river flowing through the gorge gets its water from the plateau Monokara and is “stingy” (tsigounis means stingy) as it has small quantities of water only in winter.
  • Skotini gorge : Gorge Skotini crosses one of the most remote and wild places of Crete. While walking along the gorge, you will cross one beautiful and wild landscape with bare rocks, low vegetation and numerous spices and herbs. In the gorge you will see 2-3 wells with water, while inside the tall walls of the gorge you will find many caves. Indeed, in one of them locals say that an eerie woman called Datserolenia lived. The cave has a stone wall that still protects its entrance. A few yards away, you’ll meet the small beach of Skotini.
  • Koudoumis gorge : The canyon of Koudoumis is located about 27 kilometres west of Sitia, near the village Tourloti. The canyon is accessible on foot, but it has six small steep rappels that require little attention. The canyon is also called Tourloti Gorge as its exit is located close to Tourloti and its entrance is located at the small plateau of Monokaras, a few kilometres further south. The impressive rock formations and the blooming nature of spring make trekking in Koudoumis gorge very interesting.
  • Xerokampos or Lamnoni gorge : The gorge of Xerokambos – Ziros, officially called “Lamnoni gorge”, is the driest canyon of eastern Crete. Walking in the gorge takes approximately 2 hours and the descent is quite easy and smooth. The canyon has typical wild cretan beauty, with bare, tall walls and undergrowth.
  • Agii Pantes gorge : Agii Pantes Gorge is located next to Skopi of Sitia province, near Faneromeni Monastery, and is one of the easiest places to walk in Crete. The very well signed trail runs along the riverbed of the gorge, below the shade of hundreds platan trees. There are two fresh water springs in the canyon, one is called Koutsounari and the other one, located inside a cave, is called Hosto Nero. The exit of the gorge is the beach of Agii Pantes (by Platani beach). The area floods in winter turns to an important wetland. Near its exit, you will admire the white limestock formations, reminding of huge pleurotus mushrooms.
  • Kouroukoulos gorge : The unknown gorge of Kouroukoulos starts from the deserted village Agalianos at the province of Merambelo, Lasithi prefecture. By following the old trail starting from the village and we reach the watercourse, which is accessible for hiking throughout its length. The vegetation consists mainly of oaks at the beginning and as we approach the sea, it turns to brushwood and oregano. West of Kouroukoulos, there is the Gorge Patsopoulos. They are separates by a narrow strip of wild rocky land, called Spathi. From the top of Spathi, you will have view to both canyons. A few meters before the sea, the two canyons merge to one.
  • Patsopoulos gorge : West of Kouroukoulos, there is the Gorge Patsopoulos. A very beautiful spot in the gorge is the famous Kokkinos Detis (Red cliff) which is full of rare plants living in rock holes, most of which are endemic. Just before the exit to the sea there is a small chapel dedicated to the Agios Loukas, a local hermit who died in the canyon and was shot with an arrow. Shortly after the chapel, you will find the exit of the gorge at the beach of Kouroukoulos with very large pebbles and a magical seabed. On the eastern side of the beach, there is a marine cave below the cliff that leads to the very nice pebbly beach of Kakia Naspa (Evil Landslide), which is very good for swimming.
  • Agia Irini gorge : The gorge of Agia Irini by Ziros is actually a set of two parallel canyons that merge shortly before the sea, at the point where the dirt road passes to the beach of Agia Irini. Both canyons are very wild, rocky, with steep slopes and high walls. Especially the westernmost of the two branches is quite eerie and dangerous for those who have no experience of hiking in canyons (still it is not technical).
  • Lapathos gorge : The gorge of the Holy Apostles in Lapathos is located in the south of Mount Dicti, 28 kilometres west of Ierapetra, 72 kilometres south of Heraklion, in the area of Kato Simi. This is a very rough canyon, which is a perfect challenge for very experienced canyoners. Its length is about 4 kilometres and the elevation difference between the startind and the ending point is about 900 metres. The canyon starts from the small plateau of Lapathos, near the church of Holy Apostles, and ends on the road connecting the village of Pefkos to Ierapetra. The gorge has 28 steep descents which require great repelling skills. The highest is 80 metres, one of the largest in Crete. Also the vertical walls of Lapathos are nesting shelters for many vultures, hawks, crows and other birds, and near the exit of the gorge the vegetation.
  • Milatos cave : Milatos Cave, also known as Rapas cave, is located 3 kilometres northeast of Milatos at an altitude of 155 metres. The cave has 8 small and big entrances along 40 metres, arranged on three different horizontal levels. In all areas of the cave, there are many small and big pillars arranged in clusters, which constitute an amazing spectacle. Stalagmites are fewer, however very spectacular. Stalactites are scarce. Pillars divide the cave into many chambers. The total length of the cave attains 75 metres, the width in the entrance area is 45 metres, which becomes narrower and narrower as we walk further into the cave. The deepest part of the cave is 12 metres lower than the entrance level. Circulation is easy in many areas.
  • Trapeza cave : The cave Trapeza, also known as Kronion Cave, is located between the village Marmaketo and Tzermiado, in Lassithi Plateau, at an altitude of 860 metres. It’s located near the secondary road that connects Marmaketo with Tzermiado School. Kronion cave consists of two rooms with niches. The entrance is narrow and a corridor with moisture-green sidewalls leads to a small hall. In this room, there are broken stalactites and stalagmites, destroyed by human intervention. A large stalagmite in the middle of the cave leaves two passages on his sides. Also, small niches and columns are hosted in the side of the cave. The wrinkled walls of the cave are beautiful. Right in the first room, a hole leads to another room at a lower level. One stalagmite there, resembles of a comfortable armchair.
  • Katofygo caves : Close to village Tourtouli, there are the two caves Small and Large Katofygi (with the maximum length of internal routes being 100 metres). The Large Katofygi is formed in Jurassic limestone at an altitude of 450 metres. The entrance has a width of 3.2 metres however it is not easily identifiable as it is located within a small sinkhole covered by vegetation. In fact the cave has a small size, but because of the compartmentation by the decor it gives the sense of large surface. The cave is richly decorated and has water ponds, especially in winter. A short distance from the Large Katofygi, we meet Small Katofygi which is of foremost archaeological and anthropological significance. The initial small room is followed by a downward tunnel, 40 metres long with several water ponds, spectacular pillars and richly decorated walls. At the end of the gallery there is a small gulch 6 – 7 metres deep that leads to a small room. In this cave human and mammals bones were found, as well as many shells of undefined era . Both caves are not easily identified as the entrances are relatively small.
  • Theriospilios cave : Theriospilios is a small cave in the position Chyloftes – Therio, northwest of Kavoussi in an altitude of 50 metres, on a steep slope above the sea. The cave has a total length of 44 metres, 25 metres maximum width and height 0,5 – 7 metres. Small and large columns are scattered everywhere. Bands from stalagmites shape an excellent complex. A white high stalagmite is magnificent. Two stalagmites have been broken; the one is laid on the floor and the other one is inclined. This phenomenon is rare and has caused the interest of cavers.
  • Pelekita cave : The Cave of Pelekita is one of the largest caves in Crete, having a length of 310 metres. Its large size, the rich stalactite and stalagmite decor and the spectacular boulders make this unknown cave unique on the island. The cave of Pelekita is located at an altitude of 100 metres, at the foot of Traostalos Mount, well hidden within the bare rocks of the wild landscape of Zakros. The entrance of the cave is located 5 kilometres northeast of Kato Zakros, in the position Pelekita or Sikia. The cave is also called “Cave of the Fig Tree”, named after the old fig tree near its entrance. It’s real name, Cave Pelekita (meaning “carved”), comes from the ashlar stones that were extracted in the abandoned, today, quarry that is located near the cave. These boulders were used for the construction of the Minoan Palace of Zakros.
  • Atziganospilios cave : Atziganospilios is located within short distance from the village of Adrianos, in site Koukistres. It is about 25 kilometres southwest of Agios Nikolaos, before entering the gorge of Adrianos. After entering the cave, four large rooms and five small rooms are opened, with rich cave decor. The total length of the cave is 48 metres, but the total route approaches 100 metres. In one of the small chambers, locals found human bones and shells. It seems that the cave once served human or burial needs.
  • Apoloustres cave : This is one of two caves located at Pefkos village, by Makrigialos (the other is Vreiko). The archaeologists have revealed pottery of the Archaic period and bones of wildgoats embedded in stalagmite. Caution should be paid while visiting the cave, as the walls and the roof are unstable. In 1930 visitors found copper coins depicting a man’s face and the name Marcus Aurelius was stamped around the face on each coin. Both caves, Vreiko and Apoloustres were used as coverts by the locals when they were in danger due to piracies and invasions, and many people were saved.
  • Vreiko cave : The cave of Vreiko is located about 2 kilometres north – east of the village. It is a cave and gulch and the known depth is 25 – 30 metres. The Entrance is an open and flat place that looks like a threshing floor. In the entrance there are stairs that make the entry and exit to the cave easier. A fig tree has grown at that place and its bouches cover a big gallery which is about 60 – 70 metres long. At the entry and the end of the gallery there are signs from the Neolithic Era. South of the entrance is the gulch (Latsida) where there is water which dries up during autumn. In every corner of the cave there are beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Tafos Limeri cave : South of Kroustas we meet the historic cave Tafos (Tomb) where the rebels of EAM (Greek guerrilla Army during the World War II) found shelter during the German Occupation. As usual, the place was revealed by betrayal and the Germans arrested them and executed all them at this place. The exterior space of the cave is impressive and imposing. An opening in the earth with a depth of about 50 meters causes awe to the visitor.
  • Neraidogoula cave : The cave Neraidogoula is located at an altitude of 1320 metres, in the bed of the stream Linaras in the pine wood of Selakano. Identifying its entrance is a little tricky, although there are some signs, as it is very small. To get in, you have to crawl, cross the first chamber and reach the main space of the cave. It is a very large room with a small lake. Inside the cave flows an underground river, as proved by the rumbling sounds within. The ceiling is adorned with stalactites while the floor is covered with clay.
  • Alogara cave : At the most remote part of the east Crete there is the cave Alogaras. The name is taken after the word Logari (treasure). It is located next to the village Tso, today called Agia Triada. The cave is located on the road to the deserted beach Livari and 400 feet above it, where there are remains of the ancient harbor of Ziros. Identifying the entrance of the cave is very easy from afar because the grand opening, closed by a stone wall is visible from far away. Outside this wall there are two windows and a door built in the 17th century, probably making the cave a residence and later a stable. The interior of the cave is impressive and has a spacious hall from which three tunnels start. Archaeologist Paul Faure identified sherds of the Middle Minoan period and there are many stories about other findings such as ancient pottery and the figurine of a deity, which demonstrate the ritual use of the cave during the ancient times. Outside the cave there is a spacious courtyard from where the view to the sea and the beach is unique. Just below the cave and across the hillside there are ancient terraces of stony ground.
  • Gaidourotripa cave : Cave Gaidourotripa is located west of Kritsa, on the road that leads to the plateau Katharo. The cave bears very rich decoration. Its name literally means Donkey Cave, because the locals used to bring the elderly donkeys in the cave.
  • Ano Peristeras cave : The Cave Ano Peristeras is one of the many underground rivers of the area of Karidi, Sitia province. It is located at an altitude of 650 metres, the length of routes exceed 5500 metres and its depth exceeds 220 metres. The cave has many wells with water and its exploration requires using cavediving equipment.
  • Kato Peristeras cave : Cave Kato Peristeras is located east of the village Karydi at position Kato Platyvolo (altitude 560 metres). It is basically a cave with large impressive entrance with high gradient. The entrance is not easily visible because it is flat. It forms a sizable descending room quite well lighted at its entire depth. The fallen parts of the roof have covered the floor, while the feces of pigeons make descent very slippery. Deep in the main, between boulders, an aisle leads to small galleries. This part of the cave is adorned with stone decoration. The total explored length of the route is 170 metres. Here traces of Neolithic habitation and human bones are embedded to the stalagmite material .
  • Ahnistres cave : The cave Ahnistres is located west of the seaside village of Milatos, at an altitude of 70 metres and it has two entrances, quite covered by dense vegetation. Although the cave is inactive, the decor is very impressive and well developed, with most impressive being a series of columns with height 2 – 7 metres and almost 40 metres long. At the southern part of the cave there is another array up to 12 metres high.
  • Georntomouri cave : This cave was discovered incidentally in 1976 during road construction works. This burial cave was used mainly during the Neolithic and Minoan period. The cave was mainly used for disposing dead from above, as evidenced by the numerous bones and skulls found here. Archaeologists have also found many offerings.
  • Dadoulas cave : The Cave Dadoulas or Maxime is an underground river at Dadoulas area by Vrysidi settlement. It has a total routes’ length of 760 metres, depth of 260 metres and ends at a siphon (well). It has very rich decor and is characterized as a “living museum of the geological history” of the region.

  • Dikti range : This range lies between Heraklion and Lassithi. Its highest summit is Spathi (2148 metres) and there are two more peaks at an altitude of more than 2000 metres. Lassithi Plateau, the largest in Crete, lies at the heart of the range at an altitude of 850 metres. It is surrounded by a series of smaller plateaus such as Katharo, Limnakaro, Mari, Lapathos, Omalos, Erganos and Nisimos. There is a mountain shelter at Limnakaro from where hikers ascend to Spathi. Several gorges are found in the range of Lassithi. Apart from the two gorges named Havgas at Katharo and Kalamafka, there are more canyons such as Sarakina, Adrianos, Ambelos, Roza and Kritsa.
  • Tripiti range : Thripti Range is the fifth largest mountain range of Crete, also called Aori. The highest peak of Thripti mountains is called Stavromenos (1476 metres). The mountains of Thripti are covered by a beautiful pine forest, which has unfortunately shrunk due to human presence and fires. Moreover, near the Plateau of Thripti start the imposing wild gorges of Cha and Mesonas. On the southern slopes of these mountains there are some of the most scenic villages in Crete, such as the lush Orino village, and the seaside resort of Makrygialos. There are also the amazing green gorges of Pefki, Mylonas and Orino. Because of the rugged morphology and the ideal climatic conditions, the area of Thripti hosts several endemic species of flora such as arhontoxylo, aladania, the Cretan white anemone and the Cretan cyclamen. Lastly, the walls of the canyons, especially the unreachable Cha Gorge, shelter threatened species of birds of prey like the endangered bearded vulture (gypaetus barbatus) and the golden eagle.
  • Bramiana lake : The artificial lake of Bramiana was built in 1986 at Bramiana to meet the 30.000 of the greenhouses of Ierapetra. It is located 5 kilometres northwest of the town, in the road connecting Ierapetra and Kalamafka village. The lake covers an area of 4,25 kilometres and has a capacity of 15 million cubic metres, making it the second largest wetland of southern Greece, after Potami Dam at Amari valley. The water is supplied mainly from sources in Kefalovrysi by Kalamafka, Krygios River that comes from Selakano Wood and Males area, from the springs of Malavra and from the springs of Korakas Gorge by Meseleri.
  • Lake Voulismeni : Trademark of Agios Nikolaos is the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, a small lagoon in the center of the town, used as a small harbor where fishing boats stop. Dozens of legends are associated with it, mainly because of its very deep waters (e.g. that it has no bottom). At the bottom of the lake the Germans disposed all their war material before leaving Crete in 1944. A walk around the lake is a very nice experience indeed.
  • Skafi lake : At one of the most beautiful landscapes of Crete, the pond of Skafi is formed, located 3 kilometres southwest of the lush green village Orino, Thripti Mount. The surrounding area is full of pine trees, making the landscape very different from the typical Cretan places. The secluded lake is the unique lake at Thripti and gets its name (skafi means tub in Greek) after its oblong shape. During spring, water is very clear and is perfect for a cold bath.
  • Kourounes pond : In the heart of Province Mirabello, prefecture Lassithi, which the most arid region all over Crete one would not expect to meet a natural freshwater lake. However, at village Kourounes we meet one. Specifically in the area named Limni (lake) at the south entrance of the village and next to the first houses of the small village we find the lake of Kourounes. It is small but it is quite deep for carrying a significant amount of water. The area of Mirabello is full of such ponds, called pogles, which are small karst plateaus. The lake of Kourounes gathers the waters of the plateau which, due to the absence of a natural sink, form the pond. Around the lake there are impressive ancient stone wells. The lake has always played an important role in the region and its precious water was used during the dry months of the year to irrigate the crops. Around the lake there is the most fertile farmland of the village. The wetland is quite important for birds, mainly due to lack of water for many kilometers.
  • Ziros lake : At the plateau of Ziros and right next to the homonymous village we meet a very small wetland, covering only a half acre. This small pond is extremely important for the biodiversity of the dry Eastern Crete, as the existence of freshwater anywhere there is valuable.
  • Parakalouri lake : Parakalouri, now known as Agios Konstantinos, is a small village of the province of Mirabello. Apart from the frescoed church of Agios Konstantiunos, visitors in winter and early spring can see the 28000 square metres seasonal pond of Livadi which is surrounded by dense vegetation and hosts bird fauna.

There are quite a few small rivers that can be found within the Prefecture of Lasithi, such as Kryopotamos river.

  • Spinalonga islet : Spinalonga is a small island located at the entrance of Elounda lagoon and north of the Gulf of Mirabello. It has an area of 0,35 square kilometres and its maximum height is 53 metres. The history of the island still inspires awe. It has been a Venetian fortress, a castle colony, a rebel refuge, a place of exile for lepers, a communication link with Cairo during the Second World War. The island has been well fortified by the Venetians during their presence in Crete. From structural and architectural point of view and from an aesthetic view of the whole landscape, the island still retains an unsurpassed beauty. Its original name was Calydon, but the Venetians named it Spinalonga from the Venetian word Spina-Longa, which means long thorn. According to a second weaker interpretation, Spinalonga derives its name by paraphrasing “Stin Elounda”, meaning “In Elounda”. Another, version tells that the island got its name from a beautiful woman named Longa that was living in the fort.
  • Koufonisi island : Koufonissi is a small island in the Libyan Sea, 5,6 kilometres south of Cape Goudouras and 16 kilometres miles southeast of Makrigialos. The island is roughly 6 kilometres long and 5.5 kilometres across. It has an entire surface area of 5.25 square kilometres. Koufonissi is the largest of a cluster of 5 islands: Koufonisi, Makroulo, Strogilo, Trachila and Marmara. The ancient name Lefki (meaning white), was given by the glint of white limestone and marl in the sunlight. Instead, the current name, Koufonissi (meaning Cave-Island), is related to the many pits and caves shaped by the sea and rain. According to a second stronger version, the name comes after the many rats of the island, which are called “koufa” by locals. The island is uninhabited now, but is full of ruins that indicate human activity from the Early Minoan times to post-Byzantine years. The island has beautiful sandy beaches, it is mainly covered with fine sand and the scenery is not very different from an African desert. The landscapes alternate from the steep rocky shoreline, to the caves of yellow marl and the endless dunes. The prevailing vegetation is low, bushy, steppic and with many species, rare in the Greek and Cretan area. Characteristic species are Helianfhemmum stipulalum, the Lygeum spartum (grass of North Africa), Austragalus peregrinus (characteristic of the southern Mediterranean) and the rare Erodium classifolium, located at the northernmost point of its spread.
  • Chrissi island : Chrissi island or Gaidouronisi is located 13 kilometres south of Ierapetra city, in the open Libyan Sea. It is a flat islet very famous for its tropical blue water that cover all possible palette hues of blue and green, the protected forest with large juniper trees and the thousands of broken shells that make the sand pinkish. The residents of Ierapetra love this island and call it simply “the Island”. It is said that years ago by Gianni Agnelli, the chairman of Ferrari, wanted to buy the island to make it a tourist attraction. Fortunately, the locals rebelled and the island has remained free. Chrissi takes its name (golden) after the golden sand that covers the entire island and comes from shell debris. Chrissi has been declared as an area of natural beauty and it is strictly prohibited to camp and spend your night here. You must keep away from the fragile cedar forest, which has been signed with ropes. Lastly, collecting sand and shells is strictly forbidden.
  • Dionysades islets : The Dionysades (also Gianysades) is a small group of islands off Sitia on the northeast coast of Crete. The group includes the islands Gianysada, Dragonada, Paximada, and Paximadaki. This island group is part of an environmentally protected area with many rare plants and animals including the falcon, Falco eleonorae, which finds sanctuary here. These islands were once a place of worship of the ancient Greek god Dionysus. Archaeologists have found artifacts, from ancient and early Christian eras, indicating that the islands may have been inhabited in the past.
  • Mochlos islet : The islet Scoglio de Muflo of the Venetians, which is the island opposite of Mochlos, seems to have been a very important commercial center and port in antiquity till the Byzantine Era. The island, also called Psilos (i.e. Flea) (opposed to a larger island to the west called Psira, i.e. lice) is an archaeological site that still gets excavated. The flourish of ancient Mochlos seems to have been interrupted abruptly when the island was separated from the mainland of Crete. Indeed, in the past the island was actually the tip of a narrow peninsula, across which two natural harbors were formed. In today’s sea area between the island and the mainland, where the depth does not exceed 2.5 metres, traces of Roman buildings have been found. The island was inhabited since the 3650 BC and flourished in the Minoan era, as the natural harbor and the surrounding fertile plain were two strong advantages within an area with stormy seas and rugged mountains. Mochlos imported obsidian from Milos and raw materials from the East, with which it had close trade relations. Indeed, although the settlement was destroyed by the eruption of Santorini volcano, it was rebuilt. During the Roman times, Ierapytna owned Mochlos and fortified it to protect it from enemy attacks. Mochlos flourished until the Byzantine era, when it followed the fate of all coastal areas of Crete, which were abandoned because of the pirate raids.
  • Psira islet : Psira is a small uninhabited islet located 1,6 kilometres north of Tholos beach, situated at the northeastern edge of the Gulf of Mirabello. In Psira a Minoan settlement of 60 – 80.000 square metres has been found, being one of the most important sites in Crete. The name Psira means Louse in Greek and is taken after the shape of the island, reminiscent of the homonym insect. It is remarkable that in close distance (opposite Pahia Ammos) there is a small island that the locals call Konida (i.e. nits – lice eggs) and in Mochlos there is another islet named Psilos (flea)! The most important attraction of Psira, as already mentioned, are the ruins of the small Minoan town that flourished between 1700BC-1450 BC on a small peninsula on the south coast. The town, although quite small, was inhabited by families of merchants, craftsmen, fishermen and sailors who were all wealthy and maintained contacts with the Mediterranean. Probably they were engaged in the trade of the purple dye, like the Isle of Lefki.
  • Lato : Lato was one of the most important Doric city-states in Crete, although it must have existed before the “Descent of the Dorians”. It is built on a saddle between two hills, at a site protected by possible attacks but also with a splendid view over Mirambello Bay. It was named after Leto (Lato is the Doric type), mother of Apollo and Artemis, although the main goddess worshipped in the city was Eileithyia, who was also depicted on the coins cut by the city. From the northern acropolis of Lato on the highest hill, which has an altitude of 395 metres, one could see the whole territory of Lato, which included the areas of Agios Nicolaos, Kritsa and Kroustas with the plateaus of Katharo, Kalo Horio and Prina. Around the city there were cemeteries, small fortresses for the control of the territory, temples, small towns and settlements of farmers or shepherds. The harbour of the city was Lato pros Kamara (modern Agios Nikolaos), possibly named after an arched or vaulted building. Inscriptions testify that a military force from Rhodes existed in the city, after the conflict between the Cretans and the Rhodians at the end of the 3rd century and the detarmination of the borders between the city and the neighboring cities Ierapetra and Lytos in the same period. It was one of the last conquests of Roman General Metellus but the presence of the Romans does not seem to have been intense in the city. Life continued during the Roman period but Kamara did not become as important as other cities, like Ierapitna, Lyttos and Olous.
  • Zakros : The palace of Zakros is the fourth largest Minoan palace. It was located on a remarkable strategic site, in a safe small bay, and was a centre of trade with the countries of the Orient, as revealed by the finds (ivory, faïence, copper etc). The palace was a center of administration, religion and trade. It was surrounded by the city. No new buildings were built in the area and it was only used for farming. The “Gorge of the Dead”, the Gorge between Pano Zakros and Kato Zakros, revealed burials in caves on its sides. The palace of Zakros has two main building stages: The old palace was built in c. 1900 B.C., and the new one in c. 1600 B.C., but was destroyed in 1450 B.C. along with the other centres of Minoan Crete.
  • Palaikastro : At the northernmost edge of the eastern coast of Crete lie the ruins of a settlement which flourished during the Late Minoan period (1550-1220 B.C.). At the same site, however, remains of the Early and Middle Minoan periods (3000-1550 B.C.) are preserved, mostly cemeteries with well-built ossuaries and ruins of spacious houses. The site stopped being inhabited when Zakros was abandoned (1450 B.C.) but was reoccupied during the Late Minoan III period (1300-1200 B.C.). The city covered a total area of more than 50,000 square metres, was densely inhabited but not fortified. The sanctuary of “Dictaean Zeus”, which administratively belonged to the city of Itanos. Cult practice was continuous from the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) until the Roman conquest. It seems that the sanctuary was plundered and destroyed by fanatic Christians at the end of the 4th century A.D. At the site Rousolakkos, where the Minoan city is located, systematic excavations were conducted by the British archeologist R. C. Bosanquet and were continued in 1906 by R.M. Dawkins.
  • Casarma Fortress : The Venetian fortress of Siteia was constructed in the 13th century in the position of the byzantine city, which was the seat of a bishopric. Possibly this was also the position of the ancient city Iteia or Siteia. As seen in the Venetian plans, the eastern part of the modern city of Siteia was fortified and was called the “Castello”. It had a triangular form and enclosed the cathedral and the residence of the rector. On the top of the triangle was the tower with its enclosure. The neighbourhoods outside the walls (borghi) were developed west of the fortification enclosure and remained unfortified until the end. East of the enclosure was the women’s monastery of Agia Maria, appoximately at the position of today’s cemetary. After the earthquake of 1303, the fortress and the tower were severely damaged and the repairs made later could not strengthen it. A new major destruction was caused by the earthquake of 1508, and in 1538, the raid of the pirates of Barbarossa, caused more destructions to happen. In the middle of the 16th century, when Venice constructed large-scale fortification works in its conquered areas, applying the new bastion system, Siteia was actually unfortified. The Venetian administration in 1554 sent money for the restoration of the fortress. In the following years, despite the demolition recommendation made by Sforza Pallavicini and Giulio Savorgnan in 1571 to the Senate, the Venetians tried to restore it with some works, but was still ready to collapse. After the turkish invasion of 1645 and the “parade” to the east, general Mocenigo finds out that the fortress was completely vulnerable to a siege and in 1651 he decided to demolish it and transfer the cannons and the equipment to Khandax. After its occupation the fortress was used by the Turks as a fortification, with serious interventions to the ruined venetian complex. The turkish fortress was constructed on the base of the higher venetial tower and it is connected with the small remaining part of the enclosure. The wall on the sides of the triangle, large parts of which were preserved in the beginning of the century, has almost disappeared today, with the exemption of the wall on the side of the sea. The tower, without a roof today, had the form it took during the ottoman rule. There are traces of an internal perimetric corridor and of a central two-storey part. The exact type of the roof remains unclear. The fortress was used for many years by the Civil Aviation Authority, until 1966. Inside it there were sheds and and added buildings. In 1963 it was declared as a preservable monument. In 1966 efforts for its restoration started and the first consolidation works began. After 1970 the sheds were removed. Today it is a visitable guarded monument, and in the summer months it is used as an events area.
  • Monastery of Toplou : The monastery of ‘Toplou’ or of the Virgin Mary of the Cape ‘Panagia Akrotiriani’ constitutes the most important fortified monastic complex of northeastern Crete, with an imposing bell-tower decorated in renaissance style rising on its western side, above the main gate. This impressive monastic complex – which up to this day operates as a male monastery – was developed gradually from the 14th century onwards and, as confirmed by archival sources, gradually developed into a vibrant convent of great spiritual radiance from the 15th century onwards. The monastery is built around a courtyard on three floors with ramparts, covering an area of approximately 800 square metres. Its construction took place in the last years of Venetian rule, when the upcoming Turkish threat was obvious. The construction of the monastery in this fortified form has been associated with the Cretan-Venetian families of Kornaros and Mezzo in Sitia. Even to this day the southern wing is called the Kornaros wing and the northern one is called the Mezzo wing, names indicating the sponsors of the monastery. The monastery was at its peak in the 14th and 15th centuries, judging by the large number of important Byzantine icons of that period, closely reflecting the evolution of Constantinople style in icon painting. This style was gradually introduced to Crete from the fall of Constantinople onwards. The high artistic value of the icons is also indicative of the high level of education of this monastic community, which played an important role in raising the cultural level of Crete during the Renaissance. This period of prosperity continued undisturbed until 1612, when it was halted by a devastating earthquake that struck eastern Crete. During the Ottoman rule the monastery was frequently the subject of looting and slaughter by the Turks, but it managed to survive and help enslaved Greeks. Indeed, from 1856 onwards, a secret school was organized in the monastery complex, which taught literacy through religious texts under the auspices of the Dimogerontia (Community Elders’ Board). Candidate monks as well as the children of the people who lived in the area went to school there and learned to read and write. A very important collection of pictures, manuscripts, incunabula, prints, etchings and church relics is kept and exhibited in the monastery, making it an important cultural destination in eastern Crete.
  • Gournia : Gournia – its ancient name being unknown – is the most typical excavated medium – size settlement of the Minoan prosperity period (Late Minoan period: 1550-1450 B.C.) and it is well preserved, that’s why it is called “the Pompeii of the Minoan Crete”. It is built on a low hill, very near the sea, at Isthmos of Ierapetra. The first inhabitants settled here in the Early Minoan III period (2300 B.C.). Remains of the Middle Minoan period (2000-1600 B.C.) are also preserved. The palace was built at the end of this period but was destroyed along with the surrounding city in around 1450 B.C., at the same time as the other Minoan centers. Fifty years later the site was “reoccupied” for a certain period. The settlement was finally abandoned in around 1200 b.c.
  • Temple of Aris and Aphrodite at Lenika : In a flat area near the modern settlement Ellinika, between Agios Nikolaos and Elounta, at the border between the ancient city-states Lato and Olous, was located a very old sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite, the «ancient Aphrodision» of the inscriptions of the late 2nd century B.C. The area obtained a new meaning, when the conflicts between the two cities over border disputes escalated and approximately in the position of the ruined single geometric sanctuary was built a temple in the 2nd century B.C., dedicated to two Gods, Aris and Aphrodite. The building had not   been used, according to the excavators, after the geometric times and possibly at the end of the 2nd century B.C. it was already ruined. From inscriptions the construction process of later additions and repairs of the later temple as well as the development of the border disputes, that were resolved throught the mediation of Knossos, Rome and Militos. The mediations and the relevant treaties also had to be placed «in the temple Dera» or in the temple of Area in the area Dera -and many of them were actually found in the area of the temple of Lenika. Finally the temple and the area were given to Lato.
  • Fountains of Kritsa : The settlement Kritsa of the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos is one of the most important semi-mountainous traditional settlements of Crete. The three community springs that are located there “and the cobbled road ” at the position Chaniotera have been characterised as preservable historical monuments because they are representative samples of architectural tradition and they are directly linked with the history of Kritsa and the memories of the inhabitants of the area. Spring in the area “Koutsounari”. It is a stone-built building with simple arched shape. Spring in the area “Kavvousa”. It features a twin blin arched construction. Spring in the area “Chaniotena”. It is used for watering the animals. The building has the typical form of the simple apse-shaped springs of Crete. The last cobbled road that has remained in Kritsa is there and connects the center of the settlement with the plain.
  • Windmills at Seli Ambelou – Lasithi Plateau : The most remarkable set of windmills that survives in Crete today is located in Seli Ambelou in the Lassithi Plateau. It is situated at the northern entrance of the Plateau and it is the “trademark” of the area. Today there are 24 windmills left (originally they were 26). Seven of them are south of the street that enters the Plateau and the rest are on its northern side. All the mills are of the same type. These windmills were used by the people of Lasithi and other inhabitants of the area to grind the cereals. Its existence is mentioned since the Venetian era. More specifically the mills of Ambelos were transferred to this site at the end of the 19th century from the site Zaronas near the village Potamoi. This type of windmills, which grind at a fixed position, that is, a stable direction of the wind, can be found today in Crete and Karpathos, the difference being that the Cretan ones are more elegant.
  • Petras : On a low hill by the sea lies an important Minoan settlement. It had a large harbour and was the centre of an area bordered by Chamezi on the west, Praisos on the south, and Analoukas on the east. Despite evidence of habitation in the last phase of the Neolithic period (3500 B.C.), the first settlement is dated in the Early Minoan II period (2600-2300 B.C.). It continued to be inhabited until 1450 B.C., when it was destroyed, along with the other Minoan centres. A short reoccupation occurred during the Late Minoan III period (1400-1300 B.C.). The settlement flourished in the Old Palatial period (2000-1650 B.C.), when the central building of palatial character was built on the top of the hill; it reached a peak, however, in the New Palatial period (2000-1450 B.C.) when many alterations of the buildings took place. In the 12th and 13th centuries A.D. the top of the hill was occupied by a cemetery, of which 32 graves have been excavated. In 1900, archeologist R.C. Bοsanquet conducted a brief excavation research in the area, where traces of walls were visible. In 1985 systematic excavation started, which continues to the present day under M. Tsipopoulou.